Afternoon Reading List 07.17.13.

What’s in Jonathan Caperhart’s inbox? — After the controversial George Zimmerman verdict was announced, many opinion writers chimed in on the decision. Many of those no doubt saw their inboxes subsequently flooded with responses, either slamming them or agreeing with their stance. WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart was no exception. After receiving many responses to what he said on TV about the verdict, Capehart didn’t want to just read through them and hit the trashcan key. So instead, he published excerpts of “choice emails.” He included the first and last name of the sender (except for one, which had a first initial), but not the email addresses, as Capehart writes that there’s “no need to subject the poor souls to their own brand of vitriol.” He also left poor grammar and misspellings alone, as there was “no need for me to give them a helping hand.” The emails all countered Capehart’s point made earlier that Zimmerman had racially profiled Trayvon Martin before he shot him. There’s even one from Ireland.

Why you should read it: It can be liberating to share contents of your inbox, and many of the unfiltered opinions presented in the excerpts are pretty raw.

Boston Bomber becomes Rolling Stone cover boy Rolling Stone on Tuesday posted their upcoming cover on Facebook, something they often do to promote soon-to-be-released issues. This time, though, the cover sparked controversy because it featured accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In an article about the cover, USA Today’s Doug Stranglin described the photo as “a Bob Dylan-style photo.” The accompanying story by contributing editor Janet Reitman, is titled “The Bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.” Rolling Stone previews a few of the discoveries Reitman made while reporting the story, including that his mother pushed his older brother Tamerlan deeper into Islam and that he once mentioned that he thought the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center could be justified by U.S. Policies toward Muslim countries. You can read that here.

Why you should read it: Rolling Stone is known for their iconic covers, but according to feedback from many readers, this time they crossed the line. Stranglin’s piece offers some background, but the Rolling Stone piece is also highly recommended.


Local news first for a local newspaper — The Zimmerman trial has been the focus of cable news since the first gavel strike, and the biggest news of all came last week with the not-guilty verdict. A small Midland, Texas newspaper decided to put coverage of the trial inside and fill the front with local stories. Not everyone agreed, and a city councilman, John Love III, took to the Midland Reporter-Telegram’s Facebook page to make his complaint known. In response, the Reporter-Telegram published an editorial explaining why they decided to move the trial story inside. They wrote that they realize some readers may have wanted to see coverage of the verdict on the front page, but Love took it a step farther, saying, (not corrected for grammar) “something that’s important to blacks across this nation is not important to Midland Reporter Telegram because after all blacks only make up 7 percent of Midlands population.” The paper then responded by saying that in their view, the trial wasn’t about race, but cable news, in particular MSNBC, made it about race. They did have pretty morbid predictions about what the next big story on cable news will be, including “a man who killed his pregnant wife or a photogenic teenager who doesn’t return home from a trip abroad.” They probably could have gone without that line.

Why you should read it: Their numbers may be on decline across the country, but it’s nice to see local newspapers have a little fight left in them. They also call out the big boys of cable news as not only overplaying this trial, but for many of the stories that consume the news cycle.

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